Ministry of Defence
Emergency Report on the Cryptanalysis of the Aliens’ Secondary Communications
MOST SECRET/EYES ONLY
Soon after the aliens’ unheralded arrival, they created and distributed a device which could translate between English and their own language.
It was noted, however, that certain ‘private’ discussions, held between the aliens with no human input, were not translated by these devices. It was soon realised that the aliens employ one language to communicate with us, and another to communicate between themselves. This second language was not programmed into the translator.
Attempts to modify the translation devices to handle the second language proved fruitless, as it is currently not possible for us to produce interfaces between most of their technology and ours, so an ad hoc cryptographic team was assembled to work on and decipher the second language.
For historical reasons, the team was dubbed “the Bletchley Group”; it comprises linguists, archaeologists, software engineers, code-breakers from MI6, and mathematicians.
As could be expected, the initial progress of the group was extremely slow. A language is far more complex than even the most secure of codes, and the team had only the spoken language to work with, so their first efforts were directed at pattern matching – attempting to find repeated phrases and clauses.
Around that time, the aliens introduced their new methods of global data transfer, which made most of the existing computer technology on the planet defunct, and caused massive ripples in all fields of commerce and government.
This “improvement” was largely disastrous – causing billions in losses in Britain alone, and greater financial damage elsewhere – and was soon abandoned; but it worked out well for the translation project, because it freed up massive amounts of “standard” computer time over the short term, giving the project a good kick-start.
Through sheer computing power, rather than finesse, a large number of repeating patterns were found. The way they interacted with other patterns and sound groups was analysed by the linguists, who then had enough raw data to start making comparisons with known languages.
Progress slowed considerably again after the disaster in the Americas, which stemmed from the new farming techniques introduced by the aliens, because three of the key members of the group were United States citizens, two of whom felt compelled to return home to help with the relief effort.
Advancements were made, however, and the first identifiable words were found. Using that albeit small vocabulary, the team was able to start seeking and identifying distinct grammatical structures. The software engineers and code-breakers developed programs that allowed for rapid progress through trial and error of “best guesses” of the meanings of sound groups (words and/or phrases). This was very successful, increasing the known vocabulary dramatically, and the project went forward in leaps and bounds.